Side Table Unwrapping

01. Overview

In this tutorial, we will be unwrapping the nightstand that we modeled together from the modeling section. By the end of this tutorial, your model will be properly unwrapped and ready for materials. To follow along you can download the beginning model here.

02. Creating a checker material and assigning it to our model

Since we haven’t gotten to the materials section, we should briefly go over how to create a basic checker material that we can apply to our model. There are a variety of checker textures available out there, as well as, a basic one available in 3DS Max. The 3d Visualization team at Wayfair has designed their own and it can be downloaded here.

a. Open the Slate Material Editor

b. You can create just a Standard Material for this, but we should get into the habit of using V-Ray Materials. In the Material/Map Browser (image to the right) open the Materials > V-Ray rollout and double click V-RayMTL, you can also drag these into the material editor workspace.

If the material editor isn’t showing the V-Ray rollouts, you may not have V-Ray set as the renderer in the Render Setup dialog.

c. Name this material CheckerMap

d. Back in the Material/Map Browser, Collapse the V-ray rollout and open the Maps > Standard rollout. Add a Bitmap node; an explorer window will open up and this is where you can choose the Wayfair checker map that you downloaded earlier. Alternatively, you can drag files into the slate editor right from any windows File Explorer Window.

e. Plug the bitmap into the diffuse channel of the material.

f. Double click the material > Select the model > and Assign Material to Selection. There is a number of ways to do this, but right clicking on the V-RayMTL is probably one of the fastest ways. Assign Material to Selection is the first option if you do it this way. Also, you can click this button with the material and object selected.

g. The material is assigned, but we cant see it on the model unless we tell 3DS Max to display a specific texture, or the entire material. Right click on the Bitmap (checker) > Show Shaded Material in Viewport. Also, you can click this button with the texture selected in the Material Editor.

h. Looking at the model in the viewport, it should look something like this:

If we put a wood texture on this in its current state, we would obviously have some issues with texture stretching and scale. Let’s get going with the UV’s!

03. Unwrapping the Side Table

a. First, we need to open our group so we can select the individual pieces. Select the Side Table group and go to Group > Open Recursively – This will open all nested groups within the selected object group head.

Selecting Group > Open will only open that first group level, so we would have to keep selecting the different parts and open them.

b. Let’s start with the table top and work out way down then we will focus on the drawer and the parts inside.

Up until this point you’ve learned a variety of ways to unwrap an object. Since most of the shapes for this SKU are box shaped, we can get away with flatten mapping and adjust the seams as necessary.

Select the table top and apply a Unwrap UVW modifier. Open the UV Editor. In Polygon Mode hit CTL + A to select all faces and go to Mapping > Flatten Mapping

Set the Polygon Angle to 89.0 – This will reduce the number of pieces since it will create seams based on a near 90° angle.

c. Do the same for the divider under the table top. Since this divider is the same scale and proportions as the divider below the drawer and the shelf, we can copy the UVW Unwrap modifier and paste it to these pieces as well.

d. For these pieces, we can apply the UVW on top of the chamfer, but at times we want to apply it below due to the increased geometry in the seam areas. When it comes to Turbosmooth, you always want to be able to collapse down the UVW Unwrap, so that would require us to create our UV’s below any type of smoothing operation.

e. Now let’s work on the legs. These are an example of when we should put the UVW Unwrap below the Chamfer Modifier (image to the right) if you haven’t collapsed it. Only because of the bevel we have on the front corner of the leg. It will be easier to create a perfect seam on that piece with a single edge versus several.

Open the Unwrap UVW Modifier > Select all polygons > Flatten Map (angle set to 89) – All the same as before, except this time we are going to make one more seam. Find the beveled piece, it should look something like the image below, and double click on the edge in edge mode. Go to Tools > Break (or CTRL + B)

Note: With the Unwrap UVW Modifier Active, you cannot double click to select edge loops in the viewport; you can only do this in the UVW edit window. If you want to select an edge loop or ring in the viewport, you have to select the edge then use either these buttons:

Use polygon mode and Select By Element UV Toggle (image left) turned on to select and move the piece we just cut off. Just move it away from its original position for now.

f. Close the UV editor and lets unwrap a couple more basic pieces, so we can focus on the more unique shapes, like the drawer handle and the drawer hardware. Unwrap the sidewalls, the back wall, the drawer front, and then lets take a look at the crossbars.

g. Run Flatten Mapping on the whole crossbar piece that we attached together in the last section. You’ll notice that we get some smaller pieces out of it. Sometimes this isn’t a big deal, but we will be adjust the UV’s on the pieces later. So, let’s weld these to a larger element.

In edge mode, highlight over one the smaller pieces. The edges will turn red on the smaller piece, but we will also see blue on the other piece that they would be sewn to.

Click the edge that turned blue, and click the Stitch Custom button as shown in the GIF below. Do this for both pieces.

h. Sometimes the pieces can be a little crooked, so make sure the pieces are straight for the most part. Both crossbars should be all set since they were instanced. If they aren’t, you can copy the Unwrap modifier to the other since the geometry should be exactly the same.

i. All of the exterior should be done, so let close the drawer group (Group > Close) to make it easier to isolate the geometry. ALT + Q to isolate the selected group. Once isolated, open the group back up (Group > Open) to select the individual pieces for unwrapping.

j. Take care of the drawer bottom and the drawer back first. Again, it’s usually better to apply the Unwrap below Chamfer and/or Turbosmooth’s when possible. With that being said, lets focus on the drawer sides since those have a Turbosmooth on them.

Select the drawer side and create a Unwrap below the Turbosmooth. If you unwrap above the Turbosmooth, you will run into issues with the UV editor being slow. Plus, more edges = harder to work with when it comes to UV’s.

Apply the typical flatten mapping settings to the object. Since we have enough geometry on the object for support of the turbosmooth, we won’t run into UV stretching on this one.

The only thing we should edit is the seams in the screw holes. The interior of the hole was split in three, so lets stitch one of the seams to clean things up.

In the end, there should be one seam at the top. With the seam being a the top, we will probably never see it because we will always be looking down on the product due to its height.

Make sure this Unwrap Modifier is applied to the other side as well.

k. Unwrap the screws. Same as before, create an unwrap under the turbosmooth. The screw is very small, so we usually something like this wouldn’t need “perfect” UV’s, but it’s good practice to manually unwrap something like this.

Start by selecting all the faces and doing a planar projection in the x-axis.

l. Select the edge loop that goes around the outside (top image) of the screw face. Then select one loops on the outside edge (bottom image) to flatten it out. Don’t forget to click Loop: XY Edges to make sure you get the entire loop.

Open the UV editor and relax the piece you just cut. Relax by polygon angles (see GIF below)

m. We can do the same thing for the inside of the screw. In the end select all the elements and use Rescale Elements to make them all the same size.

n. Next let’s unwrap the drawer handle. Flatten mapping put the seams in a bad place on the chamfer in my opinion. Once we turbosmooth, it will stretch the texture further across the front like the image to the right.

We can fix this by either adding a support loop in an edit poly, or we can just place the seams in a better place.

I’m going to manually place the seams in the center of the chamfer instead of the far side of it. Since it’s easier to work in the viewport and manually place out seams, lets adjust some settings first.

In the UnwrapUVW Modifier, go to Configure and turn off Map Seams. This will get rid of those giant green edges that distract us a little from seeing what we’re doing.

Select all the polygons and do a planar projection to start fresh. It’s not really important what axis we sit it to. Don’t forget to click on the planar button again to deactivate projection mode.

Activate Select By Polygon Angle and set it to 50. Now select the different sides we want to be combined into one UV element (also referred to an island.) Hit CTL + B right from the viewport to create seams on the borders of your selections.

Now relax all the pieces in the UV editor. The only piece that gave me issues was the backside. I had to use Straighten Selection to remove the twists. After I straightened the piece out, I still relaxed it to get everything proportional. The process can be seen in the GIF below.

The image to the right is how the layout looked in the end.

o. For the metal slide, I flatten mapped and remove the sewed the seams on the top of the slide.

p. Now the entire model is unwrapped! However, the scale of the UV’s is not consistent. It’s important to get everything roughly the same size to prevent issues with texture map. To make this a little easier to see the size variation, I’m changing the tiling of the image file in the material editor.

Double click on the Wayfair Checker Bitmap and change the tiling from 1 x 1 to 2 x 2

q. As you go through and adjust the scale of the UV’s to match the other pieces, make sure you convert/collapse down the modifier stack to an Editable Poly. Just be sure you don’t collapse the Turbosmooth.

Keep in mind, if you ever need to edit the UV’s you can create a new Unwrap UVW and you can edit your existing UV’s.

r. In the end, it should look something like below. You can download the final UV unwrapped model with materials by clicking this link.